This is the real reason you’re getting bitten by mosquitoes (2022)

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This is the real reason you’re getting bitten by mosquitoes (1)

We knew it: some people are more attractive to mosquitoes than others and here’s why.

Mosquito bites are such a bugbear – excuse the pun. In summer they seem set on spoiling every social occasion from after work drinks to weddings, ruining months of meticulous outfit planning by plastering body parts in blotchy, red lumps.

If you’re the person always thinking, “Why is nobody else getting bitten but me?” it’s because, actually, you are more appealing – sorry. And it’s not due to having ‘sweet blood’, like everyone insists on telling you, because mosquitoes are after protein not sugar.

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Dr Ross Perry, medical director at Cosmedics Skin Clinics, explains: “It is not fully known why some people get bitten more than others but many believe it can be down to genetics, blood types, skin type and chemicals emitted from the body.”

There are 30 types of mosquitoes to watch out for in Britain alone, and the way they find you is first through detecting heat and carbon dioxide, then by seeing you and finally by smelling you.. To top it all off there is the added factor of how badly the bites swell, which happens because of an allergic reaction to the proteins in mosquito saliva.

Dr Perry adds: “People can react very differently to bites and often those people who tend to suffer with eczema or hay fever have more of an allergic tendency so the reactions tend to be severe and longer lasting. Antihistamines and hydrocortisone creams are good things to help soothe and you must not pick or scratch if possible, as that will make it worse and increase the risk of infection.”

Dr Lizzie Tuckey of the London Vaccination Clinic, helps to outline some of the main reasons why you might be a prime target…

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If you go to the gym a lot

Turns out those hours spent in the gym might be the reason you’re finding yourself covered in bites. Studies have discovered mosquitoes are attracted to bodily fluids excreted through sweat. They also like warmth – so a higher body temperature will get them excited. Dr Tuckey says: “Mosquitoes are attracted to heat and to the lactic acid, uric acid, ammonia and other compounds emitted in sweat. So if you are a hot and clammy type you might be more susceptible to bites.”

If you’re bored or tired

We get it – life can be really dull sometimes. But maybe you would yawn less if you knew mossies can detect carbon dioxide from as far as 50 metres away, and according to studies, are attracted to the gas. So getting an early night’s sleep to avoid tiredness is beneficial in more ways than one. Dr Tuckey adds: “Mosquitoes follow hundreds of smells and some species travel up to several miles to find a host dinner, but about 20% of people are very irresistible. People who breathe out more carbon dioxide or people with denser constitutions are more susceptible to getting bitten.”

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If you’re pregnant

Pregnant women exhale roughly 21% more carbon dioxide and their body temperature is around 37.8 degrees compared to the average 37 degrees. So, as Dr Tuckey outlines above, it should be no surprise that pregnant women attract large numbers of mosquitoes.

It could be your blood

Seeing as though mosquitoes bite to harvest proteins in the blood, it seems plausible they would have a preference. Dr Tuckey explains: “Interestingly genetics also has a role to play as some people are just unfortunately determined to have more lactic acid in their body odour and therefore will be tastier for mosquitoes. Other genetic factors that can make you more susceptible to a bite includes your blood type. Studies have shown that Blood Group Type O are more likely to get bitten.”

If you dress in dark colours

Apparently if you like dressing in black, navy blue and red, you’ll stand out even more as potential prey. Studies show dark colours trap carbon dioxide from the body. Dr Tuckey adds: “They [mosquitoes] can distinguish between light and dark, they don’t have cones though so they can’t see colour per se.”

If you drink alcohol

Some studies have found one 12-ounce (350ml) bottle of beer makes you more susceptible to bites. Dr Tuckey says: “Alcohol that can’t be processed by the liver can lead to an increase of lactic acid and other products in the sweat. Furthermore excess alcohol digestion can lead to increased carbon dioxide excretion in the breath. It also causes blood vessels in the skin to enlarge making it easier for mosquitoes to track you down.” A good excuse to stick to mocktails?

The best products to help repel mosquitoes

  • Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub

    This is the real reason you’re getting bitten by mosquitoes (2)
    (Video) Why Mosquitoes Bite Some People More Than Others

    Geranium flowers are known to be a natural inhibitor of mosquitoes - and that includes having the plant around your patio, garden or balcony. But just to be on the safe side, apply to the skin in a scrub form to provide that extra layer of protection from bites.

  • Aspivenin

    This is the real reason you’re getting bitten by mosquitoes (3)

    A lifesaver for anyone who gets really bad bites, this pen sucks out the venom using a pump action. It should be a staple in anyone’s first aid kit. Aspivenin stops the bite enlarging and puts a stop to the endless itching. Finish with an antiseptic cream over the top and the bite should disappear in no time.

  • Avon Skin So Soft Dry Oil Spray

    This is the real reason you’re getting bitten by mosquitoes (4)

    Launching in the 1960s, this oil is still Avon’s most coveted beauty product with customers reporting it repels bugs. No wonder, as the ingredient list includes moisturising jojoba alongside bug repellents citronellol and limonene. Use all year round for good skin – plus the price point is nothing to quibble at.

  • Boots Repel Maximum Wipes 15 sheets

    This is the real reason you’re getting bitten by mosquitoes (5)

    These wipes, which can be used on skin or surfaces if necessary, contain 50 per cent DEET for protection from tropical mosquitoes for four hours and six-and-a-half hours in non-tropical climates. It is maybe not necessary in Britain, but a must for mosquito-heavy countries.

  • Incognito Hair and Body Wash

    This is the real reason you’re getting bitten by mosquitoes (6)

    One of the best brands around for mosquito repellent, take this natural, vegan wash with you on holiday or use at home. The Java citronella oil, bergamot, and tea tree makes it antiseptic and anti fungal.

  • Jungle Formula Mosquito Killer Plug-In

    This is the real reason you’re getting bitten by mosquitoes (7)

    Lasting for 45 nights, keep this plugged in over the summer and on holiday – they can be bought with different plug heads, too. The liquid contains an insecticide called prallethrin to kill mosquitoes, midges and biting insects.

  • Neal’s Yard Remedies Citronella Formula

    This is the real reason you’re getting bitten by mosquitoes (8)

    Containing a mixture of oils including citronella, witch hazel and lavender, spray liberally all over the body and even in your room on holiday or in the garden to protect yourself from bugs. Great for anyone who prefers natural products and it won’t break the bank either.

  • Tisserand Citronella Organic Essential Oil

    This is the real reason you’re getting bitten by mosquitoes (9)

    Citronella masks the scent of body by-products that they love, such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid. Splosh this oil liberally around patios or doorways, dab onto clothes, burn in lamps around the house or mix with a carrier oil in a 1:1 ratio. The result? Everything smells zingy fresh and those pesky bugs will be looking for someone else to prey on.

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Images: Getty / supplied by brands

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FAQs

Why do I get bitten by mosquitoes? ›

Mosquitoes are attracted to certain compounds that are present on human skin and in sweat. These compounds give us a specific odor that can draw mosquitoes in. Several different compounds have been identified as being attractive to mosquitoes. Some that you may be familiar with include lactic acid and ammonia.

What do you feel when a mosquito bites you answer? ›

As the mosquito is feeding, it injects saliva into your skin. Your body reacts to the saliva resulting in a bump and itching. Some people have only a mild reaction to a bite or bites. Other people react more strongly, and a large area of swelling, soreness, and redness can occur.

Do mosquitoes have teeth how do they bite us give reasons for your answer? ›

When a mosquito bites, it does so without using its teeth. Instead, it makes use of a proboscis, a long tubular mouthpiece. The mosquito's proboscis has a serrated edge that allows it to puncture the skin. Mosquitoes don't have teeth because they don't eat solids.

Why do mosquito bites keep biting me? ›

Some people produce more of certain chemicals in their skin,” he explains. “And a few of those chemicals, like lactic acid, attract mosquitoes.” There's also evidence that one blood type (O) attracts mosquitoes more than others (A or B).

Can u feel a mosquito biting U? ›

When a mosquito bites, you might feel a quick sting, or you might not feel it at all at first. The main symptom of a mosquito bite is a puffy, red bump on skin a few hours or days after you're bitten. The bump is often itchy and may look a little swollen.

Why do mosquitoes bite some people more than others? ›

It's not always a mystery as to why mosquitoes prefer some people over others—it turns out science can offer some clues. Dark clothing, blood type, sweat, carbon dioxide, pregnancy, skin bacteria, and beer consumption are some things researchers have found tend to attract mosquitoes.

Why do I get so many mosquito bites on my legs? ›

Some mosquito species are leg and ankle biters; they cue into the stinky smell of bacteria on your feet. Other species prefer the head, neck and arms perhaps because of the warmth, smells emitted by your skin, and closeness to carbon dioxide released by your mouth.

How do I stop getting bitten by mosquitoes? ›

Use insect repellent
  1. DEET.
  2. Picaridin (known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the US)
  3. IR3535.
  4. Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
  5. Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  6. 2-undecanone.

Do mosquitoes benefit us in any way? ›

While they can seem pointless and purely irritating to us humans, mosquitoes do play a substantial role in the ecosystem. Mosquitoes form an important source of biomass in the food chain—serving as food for fish as larvae and for birds, bats and frogs as adult flies—and some species are important pollinators.

What smell does mosquito hate? ›

Certain Natural Scents

Mosquitoes are turned off by several natural scents: cinnamon, peppermint, cedar, citronella, lemongrass, patchouli, catnip, lavender, and more. Find a favorite, and use it when you want to spend time outside.

How fast do mosquitoes bite? ›

It takes about 6 seconds of contact for a female mosquito to stick her 'straw' in you and pull blood from under your skin. The following minutes (or seconds) depending on the severity of your allergy to mosquito saliva you will develop a "bite" or a "sting" that may itch, swell, irritate or cause hives.

Do mosquitoes like hands? ›

It's not just who they bite but where

Mosquitoes could also have a preference for different parts of the body. One study showed mosquitoes are more attracted to hands and feet than armpits, but that just turned out to be because of deodorant residues.

Why are mosquitoes most attracted to me? ›

And mosquitoes can not only smell our sweat, studies show they're attracted to the lactic acid and ammonia found in it. Therefore, the more you sweat — whether you naturally sweat excessively or you have just finished exercising — the more attractive you may be to mosquitoes.

Why are mosquitoes attracted to only me? ›

“Because active people are producing lots of lactic acid, mosquitoes are strongly attracted to them,” he notes. In fact, research shows that mosquitoes have a distinct smell receptor in their antennae that responds to the chemicals in human sweat.

How can I stop getting bitten? ›

cover exposed skin – if you're outside at a time of day when insects are particularly active, such as sunrise or sunset, cover your skin by wearing long sleeves and trousers. wear shoes when outdoors. apply insect repellent to exposed skin – repellents that contain 50% DEET (diethyltoluamide) are most effective.

What happens when a mosquito bites you a lot? ›

Complications. Scratching bites can lead to infection. Mosquitoes can carry the viruses that cause certain diseases, such as West Nile virus and the viruses that cause malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever.

What happens when a mosquito bites you? ›

The red bump appears shortly after the bite, while itchiness sets in somewhat slower — peaking around 24 to 36 hours post-blood sucking. In most cases, a mosquito bite is a harmless nuisance that results in minor irritation and resolves on its own in a few days.

How can I protect myself from mosquitoes naturally? ›

Read on to see which natural repellents work best to prevent mosquito bites.
  1. Lemon eucalyptus oil. Used since the 1940s, lemon eucalyptus oil is one of the more well-known natural repellents. ...
  2. Lavender. ...
  3. Cinnamon oil. ...
  4. Thyme oil. ...
  5. Greek catmint oil. ...
  6. Soybean oil. ...
  7. Citronella. ...
  8. Tea tree oil.

How do I make myself less attractive to mosquitoes? ›

Basically, to avoid being a mosquito-target you should stay as scent-free as possible, wear light clothes, avoid bogs and use an effective repellent (such as those containing DEET or icaridin).

Can we live without mosquitoes? ›

In short, yes. However, many scientists believe the niche currently filled by mosquitoes would be taken over by other organisms, possibly causing things to go back to normal or even better.

Do mosquitoes do more harm than good? ›

Mosquitoes are arguably the deadliest animal in the world to humans, and I'm including other humans. They spread, or vector, diseases like malaria, yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya, West Nile Virus, and Zika virus, which together cause more deaths each year than war and homicide combined.

Do mosquitoes help your immune system? ›

In addition, some have immunomodulatory functions. Over time, the exposure to mosquito saliva, with the repeated bites of these insects, lead to immunomodulation of the antiviral response occurring in the skin and nearby tissues.

How can I stop getting bitten by mosquitoes? ›

Use insect repellent
  1. DEET.
  2. Picaridin (known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the US)
  3. IR3535.
  4. Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
  5. Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  6. 2-undecanone.

How do I stop being prone to mosquito bites? ›

To help prevent bug bites, dermatologists recommend the following tips:
  1. Use insect repellent. To protect against mosquitoes, ticks and other bugs, use insect repellent that contains 20 to 30 percent DEET on exposed skin and clothing. ...
  2. Wear appropriate clothing. ...
  3. Use bed nets. ...
  4. Pay attention to outbreaks.

What smell do mosquitoes hate? ›

2. Certain Natural Scents. Mosquitoes are turned off by several natural scents: cinnamon, peppermint, cedar, citronella, lemongrass, patchouli, catnip, lavender, and more. Find a favorite, and use it when you want to spend time outside.

What foods prevent mosquito bites? ›

Keep Mosquitoes Away by Eating These Foods
  • Beans, Lentils, Tomatoes. Beans, lentils and tomatoes are all rich in thiamine, also known as vitamin B1. ...
  • Grapefruit. Grapefruit is a refreshing summertime treat packed with vitamin C and antioxidants. ...
  • Garlic and Onions. ...
  • Apple Cider Vinegar. ...
  • Chili Peppers. ...
  • Lemongrass. ...
  • Give Us a Call.
6 Jul 2020

How do I stop myself from getting bitten? ›

cover exposed skin – if you're outside at a time of day when insects are particularly active, such as sunrise or sunset, cover your skin by wearing long sleeves and trousers. wear shoes when outdoors. apply insect repellent to exposed skin – repellents that contain 50% DEET (diethyltoluamide) are most effective.

Videos

1. Why mosquitoes bite some people more than others
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2. Scientists Finally Know Why Mosquitoes Bite Some People More Than Others - Mystery Revealed
(The Infographics Show)
3. Mechanism of a Mosquito Bite
(Virtual High School)
4. What Happens to Your Body When a Mosquito Bites You
(BRIGHT SIDE)
5. When You Are Glad to Be Bitten By a Mosquito
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6. Mosquitoes Like To Bite These Types Of People
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